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Purpose clauses, 2016

  • No clause

  • Parens patriae

  • Due process era

  • Balanced and Restorative Justice (BARJ)

  • Developmental Approach

New Hampshire’s purpose clause aligns with the Legislative Guide for Drafting Family and Juvenile Court Acts (1969) of the due process era.  Gender references (him, his) were removed in 1995, and making parents "aware of the extent if any to which they may have contributed to the delinquency and make them accountable for their role in its resolution" was added in 1999. 

NH ST §169-B:1

Intake and diversion, 2016

Initial intake and court diversion decision is at the discretion of the prosecutor or the juvenile court intake officer.

In New Hampshire, the administrative judge of the family division has the authority to approve or designate diversion referral decisions and procedures throughout the state. Any person can file a petition for delinquency, but law enforcement officers (LEO), prosecutors (DA)’s and juvenile probation/parole officers (JPO) and respective designees who file petitions must explain why a court-approved diversion program or other community intervention was not an appropriate non-judicial disposition prior to seeking court involvement.

Upon the filing of any delinquency petition, the court must provide a copy of the complaint and continue providing notice to the Department of Health and Human Services, etc. as a party to the case. At any time before or at arraignment, diversion referrals can be made by the arresting LEO, prosecuting DA, or JPO for a minor and the minor’s family to a court-approved diversion program or other intervention program or community resource. Procedures may differ by court rule, but diversion referrals are also 'appropriate' after a delinquency petition is filed and before adjudication with the court’s approval, when the facts bring the case within the jurisdiction of the court and the minor and parent/s give informed voluntary consent. Post-file diversion agreements stay proceedings for 6 months, and can be extended by the court for 6 more months when detention is not a condition.

Post-petition court diversion time limit/s exist.

In New Hampshire, pre-petition diversions have no specified statutory time limit, but procedures are subject to discretion of the administrative judge of the family division, as granted by statute.  Once a petition is filed, proceedings can be stayed while diversion agreements are monitored for up to 6 months and can be extended by the court for another 6 months.

Courtroom shackling, 2015

Restricted by legislature

New Hampshire statute RSA 126-U:13 states that the judge may order use of mechanical restraints in the courtroom only when reasonably necessary to maintain order, prevent the child's escape, or provide for the safety of the courtroom. ‘Whenever practical’, the judge shall provide the child and the child's attorney an opportunity to be heard to contest the use of restraints before use. If ordered, the judge shall make (supporting) written findings of fact.

Competency, 2015

In New Hampshire, the juvenile statutes are the legal authority for deciding juvenile competency issues.

  • No juvenile standard

  • Juvenile standard is the adult standard

  • Juvenile justice standard exists

  • JJ standard includes developmental immaturity

Sex offender registration, 2015


About this project

Juvenile Justice GPS (Geography, Policy, Practice, Statistics) is a project to develop a repository providing state policy makers and system stakeholders with a clear understanding of the juvenile justice landscape in the states.

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